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Main Article Theories about
Ab Aeterno
Main Discussion
 Theories may be removed if ... 
  1. Stated as questions or possibilities (avoid question marks, "Maybe", "I think", etc).
  2. More appropriate for another article.
  3. Illogical or previously disproven.
  4. Proven by canon source, and moved to main article.
  5. Speculative and lacking any evidence to support arguments.
  6. Responding to another theory (use discussion page instead).
  • This does not include responses that can stand alone as its own theory.
  • Usage of an indented bullet does not imply the statement is a response.

See the Lostpedia theory policy for more details.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION! READ THIS FIRST!

  • THIS IS NOT A DISCUSSION PAGE! Please comment on/discuss theories at the theory discussion page. This theory page is NOT for discussing and arguing.
  • Write theories as fact. Avoid "I think" statements.
  • Please try to place theories on other theory pages before placing them here. This prevents this page from becoming overloaded and unreadable. (And, if a lot of people edit it, crashing.) (For example, if Jacob was seen in this episode, place theories about him in the Jacob theory page, not on this page, even if your theory stems from events in this episode.)
  • Consider placing your theories in a user blog.
  • Create as many sections and subsections as possible.
  • Place evidence with your theories. Do not place un-supported theories. If you cite the producers of Lost, you must provide a link to the interview/podcast.
  • Do not sign theories.
  • Do not insist on adding debunked theories.
  • If you are not sure if your theory is appropriate or not, read the theory policy and a sysop's interpretation of it. Ask on the talk page if in doubt.

Thank you for taking the time to make sure that this theory page stays readable and able to be used by all!


Richard is Christ-like

  • He's a mediator between God (Jacob) and the people. It could be implied that Richard plays the role of Metatron, the highest of the angels. As "the voice of God" He transmits the daily orders of God to the other angels.
  • He was sold by a purseful of coins.
  • He was imprisoned and sentenced to death.
  • He suffered of thirst in middle of his ordeal.
  • He was tempted.
  • He was "baptised" in the sea.
    • Submerged four times, denying Jacob (i.e. says "Stop") three times, then says he wants to live.
  • He repeatedly used the word "save".
  • He passed out three times, possibly signaling three days inside his "tomb", a ship called "Rock" (a huge rock was used to enclose Jesus's tomb.)
  • He is granted eternal life.
  • He is deceived by the Man in Black ("Satan") three times, much like Jesus was tempted in the desert.
  • Richard was "sent" by Jacob to save his people (that he brought to the island) similar to how Jesus was sent to earth by God for the salvation of his people (that he created).
  • Richard questions Jacob's plans for him (trying to have himself killed and then almost turning to the MiB) similar to how Jesus questions God's plans for him (immediately before being betrayed by Judas).

Richard is not Christ-like

  • Richard is a sinner.
  • Richard asks for eternal life, he is not granted it on his own merits.
  • Richard's motivations have always been selfish, from the desire of having his wife back to his desire for immortality.
  • Richard was never forgiven for his sins.

MiB shares Christian beliefs

According to Jacob, the Mib believes all men are corruptible as it is in their nature to sin. Christians also believe that it is in man’s nature to sin. This is the basis behind the notion that ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son’. If men did not sin, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross.

Hurley

Theory: The person who Hurley talks to after interpreting Isabella is not Isabella but Jacob.

  • Evidence: After Isabella leaves Richard, Hurley says, "Got it" to an unseen person. He proceeds to tell Richard that there's something else that Isabella mentioned. He gives Richard his "assignment." So Jacob is now using Hurley as a medium to deliver his messages. He renews Richard's purpose after Richard finds his peace.
    • Hurley actually says "You got it," in response to Richard's thanks.
  • Evidence: Hurley says: "She said you have to stop the Man in Black..." The only character we've heard call him by this name so far is Jacob. Even if that message seemed to come from Isabella, it had to have come from Jacob VIA Isabella. However, it's much more likely that it just came straight from Jacob himself, as we've already seen that Hurley is willing to do whatever Jacob tells him to do, without question.
    • If that was actually Isabella's ghost then who knows what all she has seen. If she has seen MIB then she would probably refer to him as "The man in black." What other way is there to describe him?

Theory: Hurley is taking over the role of adviser.

  • Evidence: Hurley is assigned the next lowest candidate number of 8 (after Locke at 4) so he should be the next successor of Jacob.
    • Counter Evidence: His number being the lowest means absolutely nothing at all so far. There has been no proof that Locke (The lowest number, #4) was to be Jacob's replacement. In fact, all evidences point to Locke having being influenced by MiB his entire life, just look at the drawings he has taped to his childhood's house's wall when Richard visits him.

Theory:Hurley Will Replace Jacob

  • Evidence:
  1. Hurley (and Jack) are the only candidates to have a substantive conversation with Jacob as an adult (i.e. Kate and Sawyer were children when they spoke with Jacob)
  2. Jacob speaks to Hurley even now that he is dead
  3. Hurley is the only character that hasn't been shown to be corruptible in any significant way
  4. Hurley may be the only candidate that has not murdered anyone on or off the island (disputed - Running over Ryan Pryce with the Dharma van at top speed could be considered murder)
  5. The fact that he "followed" Richard out there is key; everybody else said following Richard was a waste of time because he was going to the MiB and there was no coming back, but Hurley, as Jacob, sees that he needs to keep Richard around.
    1. Hurley speaks distantly and indirectly to Richard, as though he is watching or being spoken to by somebody else.
  6. Hurley is not corruptible and most importantly, not one of the Candidates will kill Hurley, they all love him and go to great lengths throughout the show's history to protect him.
  7. Hurley was the last one that Jacob touched off the Island.

Theory:Hurley Won't Replace Jacob

  • Jacob has been active in putting events in motion by bringing people to the island or visiting these in the outside world. Jacob has taken initiatives, Hurley is just not that kind of guy. On the other hand Hurley and Richard share to different degrees compassion for their fellow human beings, Hurley will replace / has replaced Richard.

The Smoke Monster can't kill any of the candidates

  • Smokey cannot kill any candidates himself (he has killed plenty of people, but never any of the long list of people on the candidate list).
    • There have never been any statements suggesting that MiB can not kill candidates merely because they are candidates. On the contrary, in Ab Aeterno, MiB specifically says, "...I'll kill them too," when Jacob refers to people taking his place. It is arguably more likely that MiB can not kill anyone that Jacob has touched. Jacob touches the candidates so that (almost) nothing can kill them. However, there is a loophole that allows Jacob's "touchees" to kill one another.
  • The only potential victim of the smoke monster that has been revealed as a candidate is Montand. However, we only ever see the smoke monster rip Montand's arm off. It is highly likely that after this, Montand died from the wound without being directly killed by the Smoke Monster. None of his other victims are on the candidate list.
    • If the Smoke Monster removes someone's arm and that person dies specifically due to the loss of that limb, then the Smoke Monster has effectively killed them.
      • We only see the Smoke Monster dragging Montand along the ground into the hole. It could be for one of his recruitment processes and/or manipulation. Only after his people started pulling his arm away does his arm get ripped off.
        • This is splitting hairs. MiB can kill Montand because he was not touched by Jacob.
  • One more person in the list is Fernandez, which could mean Nikki. And Smoke Monster in the form of spiders only paralyzed her and she dies only after the losties bury her.
    • It is unlikely that the Smoke Monster was actually the spiders. What is certain is that the Smoke Monster was present in that scene. Most likey occurace was that the spider that Paulo kills attracted all of the other spiders. Arzt says specifically that the scent of the female will attract all of the males for miles.

The Smoke Monster does not kill "good" men and women

  • The Smoke monster "reads" and hesitates for certain characters, not just candidates. It evaluates Richard and seens he is a good man. It evaluated Ben and decided he was sincere in remorse for letting Alex be killed. It evaluated Mr. Eko and took him. Others are killed quickly, like all those on the boat, other "invaders". Therefore, the Smoke Monster can be seen to be a guardian of the island, keeping evil people from it.


Theory: MIB kills people when he no longer has a way to manipulate them. When he is "scanning" them he is looking for a weak spot and tries to exploit it. He has offered things to almost everyone he has come in contact with.
Evidence:

  1. He did not kill Ben because he saw that Ben genuinely felt bad about Alex, and he knew that he could be manipulated. If Ben had not really cared, MIB wouldn't have been able to use it against him.
  2. He did not kill Richard because he saw that he had a weak spot, his wife Isabella. He knew that Richard would have given anything to see her again, and he knew he could use that to entice him to kill Jacob or do whatever he wanted.
  3. He killed Eko right after Eko said that "he wasn't sorry" for his actions and refused to confess. He finally got over his obsession of redeeming himself for Yemi's death. MIB knew that he could no longer manipulate Eko with promises of him seeing his brother again.

Of the Man in Black, bodies and dead people

The smoke monster got the image of Isabella from Richard's memories.
This episode debunks the popular theory that MiB can only take the shape of dead people brought to the Island, as long as they're not buried, seeing how he passed as Richard's wife Isabella and he previously impersonated the men that Mr. Eko killed in the church

  • In fact in the episode of Eko's death he is haunted by the men he killed in Yemi's church as well as the little boy who watched him do it back in Nigeria.
  • Also, it is quite certain that the MiB also has impersonated Walt, more than once. And this although Walt was 1. not on the Island, and 2. not dead!. Therefore, the theory of MiBs power to only impersonate people whose corpses are on the Island has long been confuted.

The guise we know as "The Man in Black" is not his original face either but rather the shape he was "stuck" with at that time

Reason: When Richard inquired how it was possible the he was the smoke pillar, MiB claimed that Jacob stole his body and humanity. The disappearance of Yemi's and Christian's corpses and the importance Ilana placed on having everyone see Locke's corpse indicate that MiB can freely assume the shape of a deceased person as long as the individuals he's trying to fool with it can't tell it's a fraud (by seeing the real corpse). Once it is revealed, he's stuck in that form.

Theory found online about Man In Black - while months old, this seems to ring true. Includes pop cultural reference to Rolling Stones "Sympathy for the Devil" LOST THEORY


  • Ilana also said that Locke cannot change to impersonate another person now that Jacob is dead. Given she is "like a daughter" to Jacob, it stands to reason that this is information he told her. When MIB impersonated other people, Jacob was still alive.
    • The man in black in likely not Smokey's original face, since he has told Richard that Jacob has stolen his body, and there is no reason to question that. It also might mean that, if Jacob has stolen his original body, the little blond boy covered in blood into the jungle is, in fact, himself as a child, not Jacob, as it has been assumed earlier.
  1. Dave appeared to Hurley on the Island. Hurley hadn't seen Dave since the institution.
  • In light of MIB telling Jack that he could only impersonate the islands dead inhabitants in "The Last Recruit", it could not have been MIB posing as Isabella on the Black Rock, or when she appeared to Hurley/Richard.
    • Isabella's ghost met with Hurley & Richard. Isabella's apparition on the Black Rock is now brought into question, although the smoke monster thoroughly scanned Richard. Likewise Eko not only encountered 'Yemi' but 3 other men he had murdered at the church in Nigeria. Those apparitions were derived from scanning. Ben's mother had little to say, also a "best approximation".

Hanso had a proto-DHARMA Initiative

  1. Magnus Hanso could have bought African slaves more cheaply
  2. He needed people with some education
  3. He needed people with nothing to go back to
  4. His Project is why he faked the loss of his ship 22 years earlier
  5. It is 1867, a year after dynamite is invented. Hanso now has the power to use an explosive to gain access to something, as well as mining equipment and workmen to dig. His Project was a specific (yet secret) attempt to reach something that was underground and needed blasting.
  6. They set sail from the Canary islands For the "New World" but some how end up by figi where the island is.(<-- however, the Island moves)

The electromagnetic energy under the Swan is good but attracts evil

  • Despite the effects on electronic equipment (i.e. planes) the electromagnetic energy is responsible for (a) healing all people who live on the island (b) giving all while there the ability to "see dead people" as it increases their spiritual abilities. Walt, already showing signs of psychic abilities when he came to the Island, ostensibly became a master at it on the Island. Hurley, a good and truthful man and a man who may have already been able to see dead people before he came to the Island, increased that ability because of the influence of the Island.
  • String Theory anticipates dimensions within dimensions, all within the same physical space, but higher and higher energy. And, just like souls are attracted to the high energy of psychics, souls (and negative ones) are attracted to the island. They keep coming, and Jacob encourages them, and the good men on them in order to "convince" MIB that we are not all born with the capacity and inclination to do evil--it is a choice.
  • Energy is neither good nor evil. It depends on how it is used.

The electromagnetic energy under the Swan is the evil

  • If the Island is this cork, it sits on top of this energy, which might be the wine/hell. Every time someone would push the button, it would discharge a little evil into the outside world. This is why Walt appeared to Shannon and said backwards, "do not push the button. Button bad," and why the glyphs on the countdown timer meant "underworld." The only thing to do now is to either "blow the dam" and close the hole, or never have drilled a hole through the cork in the first place.
  • The Island existing as a way of controlling the energy, no matter where that energy actually exists, stands as a reasonable analogy of a cork in a bottle.
  • It is also possible that this energy has always existed, "Ab Aeterno," since the beginning of time, like the perpetual struggle of good and evil. It may simply be a natural, unusual phenomenon of the universe that we do not fully understand, concealed by the Island. The "evil" may simply be a subjective view (by Jacob) of this energy. The electromagnetic energy and sonic waves (and possibly other natural phenomena on the Island, i.e. water (see other water theories with MiB) repel the smoke monster/MiB. It may be that the MiB is the personification of the evil side of humanity, an entity that has always existed on the island, taking the various shapes of its dead (unburied, unburned) inhabitants.
  • It has been said many times by characters that by pushing the button they're "saving the world", and Jacob seemed to suggest he was doing the same thing by keeping the evil on the Island. And as we know Jacob is responsible for everyone that has gotten to the Island, then that means the same would go for Dharma, thus he intended for them to come and build the stations. And if you consider the fact that the energy sat in a pocket beneath the surface of the island, regularly reaching a point where you had to perform an action to keep it back, then that certainly would give the swan the metaphorical position of being the cork in the top of the bottle.
    • There is also no evidence to suggest that the electromagnetic energy existed in the flashbacks we've seen of Jacob and MiB, when there would have been no swan hatch. And since there is a big difference in the situation between then and more modern island times - MiB seemingly being stuck within the cabin, for one - something may have happened between then and now by which MiB is somehow part of the energy, which is the reason Jacob brought the Dharma Initiative to the island - to aid him in keeping the evil back. Since we still haven't seen what actually freed MiB from the cabin, perhaps Desmond turning the key had some eventual part in his release.
  • The existence of the donkey wheel back to ancient time indicates that the electromagnetic energy has been there to begin with
    • Keep in mind that the Electromagnetic "ripples" did not begin occurring until after the "Incident," when the Swan station was built.
    • Note that the wine bottle Jacob holds is similar in appearance to a Swan, with a round body and a long narrow neck. DHARMA seems to have a lot of knowledge we aren't made aware of, for instance, how did they know about the island in the first place? How did they figure out how to find it? If they have a truce with the Hostiles, they should be pretty aware of Jacob's existence, esp given how close the statue is to Dharmaville. As for the existence of the EM energy, we see that MiB shape shifts multiple times in the 19th century. Furthermore, the Black Rock being so far off course is an indication of an EM excursion of the type that occurred that brought 815 to the island. For this reason, I theorize the EM energy itself is not the "evil", it is what is keeping the evil of hell corked up, the bottle is an EM bottle. Jacob is the bottle or otherwise controls the bottle. He is able to use the EM energy to bring people to the island as well as to travel to the real world at will via the Lighthouse, and as long as Jacob, or a candidate, exists, the cork will remain in the bottle. MiB needs to get non-candidates to kill the candidates for him. Now, the reason an electromagnetic bottle contains the evil is because the evil itself has electromagnetic properties (hence the smoke cloud's dark matter properties and static discharges flashing). When the nuke goes off, its EM pulse, negates all organized EM field energy on the island, resulting in a new timeline being created in 1977 in which the losties of the present day don't get lost, but the losties in 1977 get sent forward to the proper time they should be in their own timeline, as they've lived three years since Ben left the island and caused the flashing, they reappear three years after those events.
    • Jacob is responsible for keeping the bottle closed, that is, for keeping the evil inside the control of the island.
    • The island is the cork.

The judging by MIB

Theory: MIB judges and chooses people based on their sins.
While in prison Richard wanted to be free from his sins and confess. He was asking for absolution. When smokey examined his minds/history he decided to let him live.

Evidence:

  1. MIB recruited Richard to kill Jacob - Richard had just confessed his sins to the priest in the prison.
  2. MIB recruited Ben to kill Jacob - Ben had just confessed his sins to Smokey in the temple.

Theory: MIB saw that Richard had lost someone he loved after scanning him. He then showed Richard an image of that person (Isabelle) and made it look like she had been taken. He then used that longing for a return of his loved one to convince him to try and kill Jacob. Richard was spared simply because he could be of use to MIB. He tried the a variation of the same tactic later with Eko but Eko eventually rejected it and he was killed.

Theory: Richard was spared because of the "Rules". Richard was the only person on the boat Jacob was interested in. Neither Jacob or MiB can kill a principal player (The Island won't allow it).

Theory: Jacob gives everyone a fresh start when brought to the Island, whilst MIB judges people from their previous sins.
Evidence: Eko refused to atone for his off-island sins, and was killed by MIB. Ben felt remorse for the death of Alex, and Richard wanted to atone for his sins, so both of those were spared by MIB.

Problem: Jacob says that the MiB is trying to prove that all people are corruptible and is actively attempting to prove it. It is their own actions that ultimately judge the individual.

The List of Candidates given to Ilana did not include Locke

Evidence:

  • Jacob gives Ilana a list of six candidates in Ab Aeterno. She finds out later on that (a) Locke is dead, and (b) he has been Xeroxed by MiB, and (c) In this form he has had Jacob killed by Ben. In Dr. Linus Ilana tells Sun: "Six. There are only six left." At that time she knows all about Locke so if Locke had been on her list she would have said "There were six, but there are only five left".
  • Also as we know that the Lighthouse wheel shows six candidates (4-Locke, 8-Reyes, 15-Ford, 16-Jarrah, 23-Shephard, 42-Kwon) this suggests these are the names on Ilana's list. But as Ilana has not named these it would appear there is still a twist to be revealed.
  • Maybe not a huge twist. There are six people still available as candidates, but it's entirely reasonable to only see five names, because two of them are named Kwon. This may be Sun or Jin or both, but Ilana has confessed that she doesn't know, so she is talking about six individuals to protect.
  • COUNTER THEORY

Kate is the sixth candidate.

Penance

"That man who sent you to kill me believes that everyone is corruptable because it's in their very nature to sin. I bring people here to prove him wrong. And when they get here, their past doesn't matter." - Jacob

  • Everybody's sins have been absolved in order to level the playing field, to see if it is their nature to sin even when starting from a blank slate. This is why Jacob tells Richard he cannot absolve his sins; they already have been. This is why there was such a problem in leaving the Island; they would have been corrupted and the Island cannot absolve them twice.


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